You’re familiar with the challenges of IIoT implementations—security, educating the
workforce, connectivity issues, legacy equipment, etc. IIoT technology is developing faster than solutions that will help enterprises actually use it. And fixing that problem falls onto the shoulders of the industrial business owner.
It comes as no surprise to me that, despite the acknowledged benefits of IIoT, widespread digital transformation has been slow. The first step to remedying that is recognizing the hurdles.
Top IIoT implementation challenges
Security challenges for IIoT technologies are the biggest concern because breaches can lead to physical damage and human deaths. Smart organizations using a variety of IIoT solutions recognize their hack vulnerability and prioritize risks associated with IT/OT convergence, lack of visibility and insider threats. No comprehensive cybersecurity solutions currently exist—hackers are always one step ahead—and this is particularly true for environments that partner digital and physical components.
There is a lack of understanding of IIoT solutions, a result of a handful of complications. First is a lack of educational systems for training manufacturing workers. This is complicated by the fact that many enterprises use a mismatched set of solutions that have to be adapted to develop a cohesive system. Therefore, the employer has to spend additional time and funds to train workers on these complicated setups. Likewise, as the setups get updated, the training has to be revamped.
Connectivity & visibility
In some way, all critical IIoT-implementation challenges are rooted in the lack of connectivity. With systems comprised of components from various developers, there is often trouble in synchronizing. Likewise, visibility is a resulting problem, as internet outages, power blackouts, human/software errors can remove some elements of systems from the network, which affects the entire production process and can cost millions in damages. The problem grows exponentially when the business owner is expanding and developing a global network of businesses connected through IIoT solutions.
The lack of connectivity between IT and OT infrastructures is one of the trickiest challenges of IIoT implementation because it makes adopting this technology financially impossible and logistically impractical for many businesses. IIoT devices are commonly developed as independent solutions; in best-case scenarios they can be injected into the manufacturing process to become a part of the system. However, more often they won’t allow for effective connectivity and synchronization. Therefore, the business owner has to either replace the entirety of their equipment or rely on faulty connectivity. A fix is considering IT/OT integration during development of the IIoT system.
Is it possible to overcome these IIoT implementation challenges? Or course. But resolutions require monetary investment and a commitment to develop industry infrastructure and services aimed at comprehensive implementation. In order to speed up the IIoT revolution, supporting infrastructure components mentioned above must develop alongside the actual technology.
Jack Simmer is a writer for DO Supply.
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